HDC@LPC – Testimony for Hearing on September 18, 2018

Our take on the items before the Landmarks Commission this week.  |


Statement of the Historic Districts Council
Certificate of Appropriateness Hearing
375 Stuyvesant Avenue – Stuyvesant Heights Historic District
A Classical Style freestanding house and garden with Prairie Style elements, designed by Kirby & Petit, and built in 1914-15. Application is to demolish a garage and construct a new building.
The proposed new five-story building s entirely inappropriate for the site and the district, and illustrates precisely what the Landmarks Law was intended to prevent.  It appears to be solely designed to maximize FAR, and is jarring in its scale, massing, and proportions, with the fifth-floor bulk on the rear constituting an assault on the adjoining property.
The garage is an integral component of the building’s design, and judging from photos, appears to be structurally sound and capable of being fully restored.  HDC asks LPC to mandate that the owners do so. 
LPC Determination: Read into record
103-105 Greene Street – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District
A store building designed by Henry Fernbach and built in 1879. Application is to install a barrier-free access ramp.
The Historic Districts Council commends the applicants for the preservation of vault lights in the proposal. We do wish that more thought was given to the design of the railing, and recommend something more minimal, and the elimination of the lower second railing, which seems to serve no practical or code-based purpose. 
LPC Determination: Approved with modifications. (Applicants asked to simplify railing design)
77 Jane Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
A Greek Revival style house built in 1846-1847. Application is to alter the areaway, replace grilles, reconstruct stone lintels, reconstruct rear facades, and excavate the rear yard
The Historic District Council’s concerns lie with the work at the rear. The work at 75 Jane Street, approved because of similar deteriorated conditions at the rear façade and lack of original historic detail, was not intended for replication, and should not be used as a precedent. We recommend that the applicants create an original design that will be suitable in the context of the inner block 
LPC Determination: Approved
Item 3
75 Bank Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
An apartment house designed by Irving Margon and built in 1938. Application is to legalize the removal of stairs and the installation of a service ramp and security cameras and conduit without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s)
The Historic Districts Council supports the community’s position in asking Landmarks to deny legalization. 
LPC Determination: Legalization denied
Item 16
3 Pierrepont Place – Brooklyn Heights Historic District
An Anglo-Italianate style house designed by F.A. Petersen and built in 1856-57.  Application is to modify and create masonry openings, construct a bulkhead, and install rooftop railings.
Though, from the drawings provided, this appear to be thoughtfully designed, the boards available for public review did not contain sufficient information regarding the materials and color palette of the proposal. This will be a very visible project, and we ask that staff look closely to make sure that materials are compatible. 
LPC Determination: No action
240 East 61st Street – Treadwell Farm Historic District
An Italianate style rowhouse designed by John Sexton and built in 1868-1869. Application is to legalize the painting of the façade without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).
The stark white façade is discordant with the neighborhoods character, and we believe the façade’s color should be returned to something closer to the brownstone shown in tax photos at the time of designation, and displayed by its neighbor at 238 East 61st Street. This is neither a modernization nor a restoration, but an ungainly synthesis of the two, and creates an inappropriate look for a landmarked building. 
LPC Determination: Laid over
535 1st Street – Park Slope Historic District
A British Regency style house designed by Fred W. Eisenla and built in 1915.
Application is to construct rooftop additions, extend chimneys, modify masonry openings, and excavate the rear yard.
HDC finds that the proposed third floor massing modifications would be an unfortunate departure from the current state of the interior courtyard, which is currently intact above the second floor.
From the boards made available for public review, it seems that the planned addition would not be visible from public thoroughfares. We are uncertain consequently, about what the mock-up photographs directly above the cornice represent, as there was no railing or similar detailed in the plans. We like to see more details more detail to understand this aspect of the proposal, or see materials that accurately depict what is planned. If it is a railing, it should be pushed back further away from the cornice. 
LPC Determination: Approved in part (work at rear approved, no action on rooftop addition)
84 2nd Avenue – East Village/Lower East Side Historic District
A Greek Revival style rowhouse built c. 1841 with later alterations. Application is to modify and replace storefront infill installed without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s), replace windows, construct rear yard and rooftop additions, and install railings.
HDC strongly objects to the wholesale demolition of the rear façade and the full-height rear extension, which ruins 84 Second Avenue’s relationship with neighboring buildings and fundamentally alters what interior courtyard there is. We believe any new square footage at the rear should be limited to a one-story addition matching the adjoining addition at 82 Second Avenue.
Though not strictly in LPC’s purview, the project is a sad example of facadism, completely coring one of the few surviving Greek Revival rowhouses in the East Village Historic District to transform it into an apartment building, tremendously compromising the integrity of the building and the historic integrity of the block.
The remaining Greek Revival rowhouses are important to telling the story of the district’s development, and should be preserved. 
LPC Determination: No action
138 Willow Street – Brooklyn Heights Historic District
A Greek Revival style rowhouse built in 1840  Application is to construct a rear yard addition, alter the rear façade and excavate the rear yard.
Though this block has seen repeated intrusions by large apartment buildings, this project still represents massive increase in bulk for this block and this rowhouse. We request that the addition not go above the parlor floor cornice, to maintain the brick corbel detailing. 
We also ask that the third floor cornice and intact lintels and sills and the top floor windows be retained.
LPC Determination: Approved with modification(existing rear eave line must be maintained) 
521 Broadway – SoHo-Cast Iron Historic District
A commercial building and former hotel designed by D. H. Haight or J.B. Snook and built in 1854  Application is to construct a rooftop bulkhead.
HDC simply asks that the bulkhead be clad in metal, as these utilitarian features historically were, to differentiate it from the bulk of the rest of the building. 
LPC Action: Approved
27 West 11th Street – Greenwich Village Historic District
An apartment house designed by Schneider & Herter, built in 1889, and altered in the early 20th century.  Application is to legalize façade work and window replacement without Landmarks Preservation Commission permit(s).
While we do not find the work to rise to the level of inappropriateness, we regret that the applicants work was undertaken without the guidance of the Landmarks Commission and staff that would have made for an even better project.
LPC Action: Read into record
89 South Street – South Street Seaport Historic District
A modern pier and retail structure approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2014 and modified in 2015 Application is to amend a Master Plan governing the future installation of seasonal structures.
HDC decries this naked bid to commercialize what was promised to be public space when plans for this development were before city agencies. We reiterate objections from the last time that this master plan for more incremental accruals to the bulk of this already bulky structure was heard, specifically that we are dubious these structures will prove to be seasonal and temporary, that they will obscure views, particularly of the Brooklyn Bridge, that people will come to the roof to enjoy, and that the accretions are alien to the context of the South Street Seaport and the typologies of pier buildings.
We would like to see plans for how the applicants intend to reverse these installations at the season’s conclusion.
We ask the Commission to review this plan as permanent additions, and as yet another incursion into the historic South Street Seaport Historic District. 
LPC Action: Approved


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